What to do about the season?

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

This video by Robert Desposada is one of hundreds of persuasive artifacts running this political season. I’ve heard that the cost of all campaigns will run upwards of billions, and yet politicians will claim that they want to run as cost savers, fiscal conservatives, and reformers. The California Ryan campaign might have done better to invest in start-ups and other investments, rather than dumping short term money into a Governor’s job. It’s an astounding phenomenon that would-be politicians, tea-partiers or nor, would seek work in institutions they despise and waste so much money to do so and yet claim they would support the smoke of lower taxes and the diminishment of an already diminished government or, as I’ve been wont to joke, guvment.

Everyone likes the sound of efficiency, reform, and change. But to advance the argument that the Obama administration hasn’t done enough after two years is somewhat ignorant and historically ineffective. Madison, Jay, and Hamilton are light on qualifications for office in their writings about the character of public servants, but I don’t think they would claim that one person might be better than another if those people who ran shared deep commitment and knowledge about the world and the systems with which we work.

As an academic, I’ve lived most of my professional life on the fringe of “public opinion,” as liberal, socialist, commie, and atheist. Because I’m a professor, I have “no clue about the real world,” “have never met a pay role,” am “biased toward the progressive crowd,” and sit at the knee of “satan.”

I really couldn’t give a jot about any of the above, but I am amazed at the litany of ignorance on the air waves and have, happily enough, found sanity in John Dankoski and Company at WNPR as they’ve carefully brought almost every candidate in for questions and debate and have brought a coolness to things unviewable on TV. But the larger climate is soured by waste, tendentiousness, cliche, lazy logic, and a strange impatience by the electorate after so many years of bizarre destruction that can’t be easily dusted away as a “that was then” phenomenon because that’s a dismissal of history and the linger of past influence.

Yes, we can cheer the second amendment (which is, of course, good for the gun business), but that’s not the only amendment in the document that matters, and, like the bible, the whole is being lost to easiest stitch to remember or the most quotable bit.

Those who voted in GW are paying for their choice just as are those of us who didn’t. We have trillions to spend yet on GW’s decisions and that’s real money that people could’ve kept. And the bills will mount on national health care and the schools will continue to crumble no matter how many guns people buy. Beware.


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